Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Pants is going to become a preacher I think. And I don't want to miss even one of his sermons - he has an interesting interpretation of some basic Biblical concepts.

Over dinner he and the Honey Girl (who sit beside each other at the table because, until 3 days ago, they were best friends) were having a bit of a tussle over ..... actually I don't know what it was about. Quite frankly, I didn't care - I was watching them with my cranky eyes on, waiting to see how long it would take for one of them to notice I was watching.

First the Honey Girl pushed Pants a little. So he pushed her back a little. So she pushed a little harder, and he did the same. Then the pushes turned into fake punches, and eventually the fake bit got forgotten and the real fight started.

I eventually accepted that staring at them with a disapproving expression on my face was doing pretty much nothing, and stepped into parenting action. Is it ironic that just this afternoon while I was preparing dinner, I was imagining how our family would show up on "Super Nanny"?! I was picturing horrific scenes of the baby sitting on the bench alone, beside the carving knife and a bubbling saucepan; the 3 year old running naked down the driveway and onto the road; and the older children slouching on the couch doing nothing but staring at the TV. In reality, I was right beside the baby, who was only open to two options - being held in my arms or screaming endlessly, so I plopped him on the bench beside me while I finished preparing dinner. And the Naked 3 Year Old Sprint was closely pursued by the Fully Clothed Mother Dash, which overtook said Sprint and hauled the only competitor back up stairs and secured the gate so there would be no repeat. And the children were watching TV because they'd been told to stay out of the kitchen, out of my way and not to fight no matter what, and of course staring at a screen achieves all three of these in one easy activity! But I'm sure we'd make awesome viewing on reality TV!

Anyway, there I was, staring hard to no avail, so I interrupted the tit-for-tat with a verbal reprimand, stated that it was to end now and mentioned that Time Out would follow any further hitting or pushing. (Super Nanny would be proud!)
Pants and the Honey Girl looked at me dumb founded, like I was interrupting the best sporting event this century has known. So I tried to explain suitable ways of expressing anger at your dinner companion that don't involve your hands, fists or any swear words you picked up recently.

Still no comprehension. Pants wanted to know what he was meant to do is his sister pushed him or hit him, if hitting her back was not an option.
In exasperation, and knowing it was Chapel Day at school today, I asked "Well what do you think Jesus would do if the Honey Girl was hitting HIM?"and sat back, triumphant, that Pants would know the Bible said something about turning the other cheek.

"This" he replied - and held up his hands in her direction and very clearly mimed, with sound effects, the zapping of someone with a lightning bolt.

I think I might need to change careers. Where do I go to resign from motherhood?!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

How to Give Thanks

I really should stop letting my children say grace before dinner, and just mutter a quick prayer before we eat and model how to properly thank God for the meal we're about the enjoy. (or endure,depending on who you ask and what's on the plate!) It rarely ends well.....but we persist!

Really, you'd think we'd have learnt years ago, when Bah! was a little guy. We were invited to my brother's house for dinner, to share a special meal with his family, my mother and a special guest who had traveled some distance to speak at a local church. She was very much the guest of honour for the meal, and since she was a generation ahead of me, I was anxious to offer her all the respect and hospitality she deserved.
As a special touch, I thought it might be nice for one of the children to say grace before we ate. And since our one and only son at that stage was the centre of our universe, I was quietly chuffed that he volunteered enthusiastically to give thanks. Publicly.
In hindsight, that should have been my first warning sign.

Anyway, my sister in law and I rounded up our clean, groomed and well dressed children and ushered them to the dinner table. We served their meals, and waited for the adults to be seated. Bah was whinging about wanting a drink but in true "perfect mother" style, I smiled sweetly at him and gently suggested he wait until he'd eaten some dinner.
He nagged a little more and I smiled a little more, and repeated myself through teeth more clenched than smiling now.  And I suggested he say grace now, so we could all start eating.

He glared at me, furrowed his brow a little and closed his eyes (perhaps my second warning) . As did our dinner companions, including our special guest. He paused for a moment to concentrate on speaking clearly (while I silently cheered inside that I was raising such a mature and grateful member of society who was confident speaking publicly at the age of 4)
"Thankyou God" he said "For this dinner. And for our family and friends. (a little more inner cheering from me.) Thankyou for this meat. And the potato. And the peas and pumpkin. (I was tempted to take a peek at our dinner guest to be sure she was hearing all this and fully comprehending just how thorough my boy was in being thankful.) And thankyou God, for our drinks. Even though WE HAVEN'T EVEN BLOODY GOT THEM YET AMEN!"

So, like I said, you'd think I'd have learnt long ago to say the grace myself. But it's such a good habit to develop, expressing gratefulness for the meal before you. And it provides regular amusement for the Rooster and I, as we compete to choke back our laughter and encourage our children in their earnest prayers.

Tonight was Pant's turn. Pants likes grace to done in a particular way, with everyone following his instructions to the letter. This means eyes closed, heads down and hands clasped. And silence. Total silence. All very formal.....except he then proceeds to have a very casual, laid back chat with God which can go on indefinitely.

Tonight he issued his usual instructions and waited til we all assumed our correct positions. He began to pray :
Thankyou Father for this very yummy delicious meal Mum has made for us. *pause*  I hope it's delicious anyway. *sideways suspicious glance at me* (At this point the Honey Girl decided she preferred to hold hands than clasp them in front of her so she reached over to grab hold of Pant's hand. He paused again, shook his hand free and took a breath. She reached over again and grabbed him, so he shook a little harder and glared at her. She began to explain that she wanted to hold hands but was silenced by another glare and him gruffly stating she was to clasp her hands. He waited til she had resumed her correct position, took a deep breath and continued his prayer) Sorry about that God, I'm back. That was just the Honey Girl................................. Please let our sausages and vegetables be yummy. (the older boys have a  quiet snigger at Pant's apology to God) And please tell me what the boys are laughing at right now. Because my eyes are closed and I can't see.  *Pause* (At this point  I'm not sure if God actually told Pants what they were laughing at or not - but I suspect the older boys thought this is exactly what happened because while I quietly cried tears of laughter, my older sons stilled instantly and sat quietly) Anyway, thanks for this dinner.
 And by the way God, did you  know if you spell your name backwards, it says dog?! D-O-G. It's true! Just in case you didn't know. Amen.

Maybe it's time they learnt "For what we are about to receive ......."?!!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

That's How He Rolls!

Gavin is a kid who knows what he wants and what he doesn't want.

Like tonight - he didn't want the chicken and mashed potatoes we all enjoyed for dinner.
He also didn't want the sandwich I offered as a substitute.
Nor did he want his water cup, apparently, since its contents are now spread across the dining room and kitchen.
And it would appear he also didn't want to sit in his high chair for the duration of dinner. I know this because
1) I am amazingly in tune with my offspring and we can often communicate on a deeper level than most humans, without the need for words of any language
2) he screamed and wriggled and twisted and contorted his body for the entire 3 minutes and 27 seconds it took  me to inhale the entire chicken and mashed potatoes dish  I served for dinner.

And then he wrapped his potato-covered little arms around my neck and squeezed the moment I lifted him out. Why does he never *need* a cuddle and some love when he is clean and fresh and, well, pleasant?!

Anyway, as I said, he is a kid who knows what he wants.
And he's a kid who wants cupcakes. He likes cupcakes and will go to extraordinary lengths to secure them.

Including locating said cupcakes in long-neglected locations, left to languish for many a day after the original owner has forgotten their whereabouts. Gavin has a real talent for sourcing such delicacies. (and I'll admit I have an equal talent for pretending to not notice some of the things he is consuming, since they keep him quiet and still for 5 minutes. If we're in public and I happen to catch a "look" - where all the judgement and condemnation for a negligent and useless mother such as myself is packaged up neatly into a single facial expression and a slight shake of the head -I try to grin and mumble something about natural immunisations. At home, I walk the other way and hope that a) the cupcake was one of the green-coloured ones I baked a few days ago which would explain its colour; and b) it buys me an extra minute or two to complete a task or errand.

Gavin found one of his favourite cupcakes tonight. I think it was a blueberry one. Either that, or it had turned purple and  spotty with age. But given it wasn't actually crunching, and is currently spread in small, sticky crumbs across my loungeroom floor and has some kind of moisture within it because it's stuck fast, I'm going to assume it's a fairly fresh one.

The delightful little soul waited until he was showered and dressed in fresh clean pajamas for bedtime. He waited until we'd endured the daily struggle that is brushing his teeth. (because he LIKES toothpaste, but not toothbrushes)
He waited until I was engaged in showering the Banshee (usually known as Boombah but when we refer to him combined with running water, Banshee is much more appropriate!) and then went off to discover his little treatie. He located his prize, had a little nibble and then toddled into my bedroom to show off his "Precious".

And precious it appeared to be. He wandered slowly into my room, and met my gaze slowly before lowering his eyes to his Precious, to ensure my eyes followed his and landed on his prize. Then he looked up again, with a smirk that only a cheeky one year old can fully master, and prepared to lean casually against the door jam and watch "The Show" that occurs nightly when the Banshee and running water actually meet momentarily.

Except he misjudged the location of the door jam. And since he's only new to walking, he then overbalanced. I saw him attempt to shift his weight and correct his stance but knew it was not going to end well at this stage of the evening when tired little boys don't take so well to bumping their heads.
In that split second I decided to detach myself from the Banshee by depositing him into the shower and freeing my arms from his vice-like grip (with the help of some slippery soap if necessary) and then be free to attend to Gavin, who would be sobbing on the floor with a bumped head and a bruised ego by the time I was able to reach.

I sprung into action and in one swift move had the Banshee in the shower, my arms free and was able to rush to the littlest one's side and sooth his screams.

Except he wasn't screaming. Or making any noise at all.
He had indeed misjudged the door jam and leaned against pretty much nothing. And this had certainly over- balanced him and he'd scrambled to regain his position. And his little legs, still new and unstable, had struggled to handle the change in weight and had collapsed as I'd expected.
But instead of falling into a sad little pile in a mess of tears and cupcake crumbs, he'd held onto his Precious. They'd ridden to the ground together, where they'd rolled to one side. Or rather, Gavin had rolled whilst carefully holding his Precious firmly but gently out in front of him so it would feel none of the effects of the impact.

And there he lay,  casually reclined on my bedroom floor and munching on his cupcake without a care in the world, with an expression that said he'd meant to do it like that all along! Just hangin' with his homey ....his Precious!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Dietary Dramas

We have a varied diet in our household, and try to cover all the food groups regularly.....chocolate, caffeine, good quality tea in multiple doses .........

No, really, we're all about variety. I am one of those parents who's working on the theory that if we offer all kinds of foods to our children as they grow and explore, and refuse to fight over any particular food item or taste preference, that they'll grow into good, varied eaters, guided by hunger and need rather than routine.

So far it's working. Bah and the Rabbit will try  most new tastes, and eat a good variety. Pants is a little more fussy but at 7.5 years old, he's expanding his boundaries and the Honey Girl is not too far behind him. Boombah, however, is at the very other end of the scale and currently exists on a combination of hot chips, fish fingers, vegemite toast and milk.

And breastmilk.
That's right - he's almost four and still breastfeeding. I'm not sure if it's because he actually likes the milk,or because as a Thomas and Friends obsessed 18 months old he nicknamed my breasts "Thomas" and "Percy" and now has a particularly strong attachment to them both and can't bear to let them go!  But whatever his reason, it works for us both. (although I'll readily admit if you'd asked me a few years earlier how I felt breastfeeding a 4 year old I'd have run off muttering about that being too old and how weird it is! Another of my Perfect Parenting Plans bit the dust....) If you've ever lived with an almost 4 year old, you'll know how important it is to have a full and complete understanding of exactly what technique and items are needed to distract  and ward off a total tantrum meltdown in 3 seconds whilst juggling an armload of groceries, a sippy cup of water and the baby.
Well let me tell you- nothing beats the Booby Dance! At the first sign of a typical tantrum-inducing situation I've only got to whisper "gulky" (his word for breastmilk since he was very small - I like to think it's a combination of milk + gold!) and artfully arrange myself in a manner which not-so-discreetly thrusts Thomas out to grab his attention (which, given Thomas has long been the favourite and therefore appears to be carrying a significantly heavier load than Percy, isn't hard!) and it's all over. I don't mean I expose myself or flash anyone - for the mental health of my pre-teen I do try to remain covered - but there is a certain knack to holding one breast forward, smiling sweetly with your mouth whilst your eagle eyes are searching for any sign of the impending tantrum being triggered to explode, and kinda jiggling your hips and torso so your gain the attention of a wailing child and maintain it.

Anyway, I digress. Trust me, it's a skill that takes years to refine but is absolutely worth the training!

Back to the diet of the other family members, who aren't quite so impressed with breastmilk! We talk about fruit and vegies and how important they are - and we talk about the ones that are gross and how we'd rather be sick for 8 months than have to eat them!

For sanity's sake, I've come up with this plan to ensure there's plenty of vegetables in the diet, but minimum fuss. And really, when it's carrots, mash and peas & corn every night for 84 meals straight, I get a little desperate to find an alternative. Fortunately my kids love vegetable soup. So once a week (or whenever I'm feeling bad about some dietary neglect!) we enjoy a big pot of soup and I figure I've just watched my kids happily eat 7 or 8 vegetables in one meal.
Which frees us up for Maccas or pancakes or hot chips for another night. Or three. Right?!

Genius, huh?!

And to make it even more fun, while we sip on soup (or drop in bits of bread and watch it go soggy) we play the "Can You Guess What Mum Put in the Soup?" game. It's never quite the same soup, so I tell them how many vegies and they have to guess which ones.
Tonight we had 7 vegies to guess, and they had them all bar one. Potato, carrot, celery, cabbage, pumpkin, zuccini and.......??
They couldn't guess the swede. I described it fresh. I described how it was cut up. And then I said it would now look rather like a potato and that they'd probably eaten some of it already and not known since it looked a lot like the potato pieces in the soup.

By that point Bah! was bouncing in his seat with his hand up, bursting to share his answer. He knew, he KNEW!!! He HAD it! I was pretty impressed  -I didn't think any of them would know a swede was called a swede, but Bah! often surprises me with his random knowledge. He likes to read and remembers things.

So everyone had one final guess (with helpful responses like chicken? water? soup? bread, cos I just dropped some bread in it so now it HAS got bread in it Mum!) and we all turned to Bah! to enlighten is. What WAS this mysterious vegetable ingredient that looked like a potato, cooked up like a potato and might well be mistaken for a potato??

Apparently, according to Bah!, it's called a Stealth Potato!!

My not-so-stealth-like eldest, Bah!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

We're Baaaaaaa-aaaaaack!

It would appear I've had myself a bit of a blogging break. (As opposed to disappearing for several months, not blogging at all and then returning to post like I was only sharing yesterday!) I didn't deliberately take a break, I just kept posting our family's craziness on Facebook (they make great status updates!) and then figured there wasn't much point blogging the same story. And plastering my newest blog post all over my Facebook wall and making my friends read it all. Again.

But I'm back. For real this time! I'm even seeking some assistance to pretty up the blog a little. And I'll be posting a little more regularly than before- which given my previous rate was once every month or so, shouldn't be too difficult!

And the reason for the revival is because we're planning to pack up the family and relocate to Africa!!!
And really, what part of taking 6 kids to the travel doctor for multiple injections each while the others run amok in the waiting room with the giant stuffed tiger (it's fake, don't worry!) in the play area with a big sign that says "Please climb all over me" doesn't sound like great blog fodder? (Actually the sign says "Do not climb on me,  I bite!" but given it's in the play area of a doctor's surgery and it's a tiger, you could write "Fiddledy di do, yada yada POO!" on the sign and it would STILL read "Please climb all over me!" wouldn't it?!)

And surely a flight of 14 hours followed by another flight of 4 or 5 hours with a stop over in Dubai sounds like buckets of fun and giggles, right? (especially for our fellow passengers. I'll be sure to post our flight details well in advance so anyone else travelling from Australia to Dubai to Entebbe can avoid booking onto the same flight. We're considerate like that!)

Not to mention the first time our travels catch up with our tummies. I mean, who DOESN'T want to read about 6 kids and 2 adults with a stomach bug/traveller's diarrhea? Photos for THAT post, for sure!

So since we have so much fun and laughter and rainbows coming up, and plenty of preparations between now and then, I thought it was time to revive the blog.
Minor housekeeping : we've updated our eldest's name to Bah! He was a little uncomfortable being referred to as Tubby, even though it was based on what his younger brother called him and has nothing to do with body size and shape. He's asked, instead, that we refer to him by what his littlest brother calls him - Bah! Which is kinda cute, since Bah! was also one of, er, Bah!'s first words!!

I'll finish with a family snap and be back soon (not 5 months!) with a new post!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Cake Hall of Shame - A Prelude.......

I'm not a cake maker. At all. Icing, lollies and I go together about as well as the red tutu, pink striped stockings and heavy black boots the Honey Girl tries to wear to church each Sunday!
But each time a birthday comes around for one of my kids, I lovingly let them choose a cake, and then painstakingly set about ruining it.

Seriously - tonight's effort will be approximately Cake #35 (or #70 if you include the "just for the family, not for party/public viewing efforts!
) and I'm still cursing whoever read the freaking Rainbow Fish to my Preppie because now I have to turn him into a cake. That is symetrically and anatomically correct, with the correct shade of scales and he has to sparkle.
And I still can't figure out how to even make the FISH shape!! I really have not improved in all these years of trying.

The very first cake I made, when my firstborn
turned one, was meant to be a cupcake bunch of balloons. I got myself tangled up in an utter mes
s of icing, ribbons and tears, before the Rooster came along and, well, pretty much created the entire masterpiece in about 10 minutes with some icing sugar, sticky tape and a hot knife.

And yet each and every year at Birthday Cake Creation o Clock, the Rooster is nowhere to be found. I'm beginning to wonder if he does this
on purpose - perhaps it's amusing to watch your beloved wife cover the kitchen in icing and sugar, whilst managing to pretty much miss the cake entirely and produce something that looks like

...well, anything other than what it was intended to look like.

Anyway, as I was reminscing about previous cake attempts, I thought I might share my Spectacular Failures of All Time. There were plenty to choose from (about 35 actually!) but here are the very worst of the worst. The Cake Hall of Shame ~ a Prelude!

And can you believe - my almost 9 year old has requested an exact replica of Cake #2. Apparently HE thought it was awesome. I suspect his 9 year old eyes and perception might be a little more critical - and therefore disappointed - than the 6 year old who thought it was a good creation!

This one was meant to be a skull - in ice cream.

Awesome idea, dreadful execution ......

And here's the Rabbit's current favourite - meant to be a street scene where Spiderman and Venom clash ..... except Venom is larger than the entire street, and the building (ie the whole cake!) is about to collapse. (Spidey is hanging by a piece of cotton from a gob of blue tak on the ceiling - I TOLD you this was not my forte!)

That's just a warm up ..... there are more to come soon!!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Wisdom from the Front Line

It's school holidays.
Which means instead of the mad rush to be out of bed, dressed (apparently I'm not to do the school run in my PJs and slippers!), breakfasted, with bags and lunches packed and out the door by 8am; we get to slowly spread Cheerios across the lounge, slop milk on ALL the kitchen benches, sit on the stairwell to munch toast (so both TVs are in viewing range and you can watch 2 programs at once - my kids are high tech I tell you!) and regularly run up to Mum's room to tell on one of your siblings for some minor infraction of the rules whilst simultaneously breaking about three or four of them yourself.
(Actually this is a bit fun for me - I lie in bed and wait for the next installment and they do not fail me. Every morning at least one child comes in to dob on a sibling for "eating/drinking on the carpet". To get to my room they have to cross said carpet. And they always ALWAYS arrive with a bowl of cereal or a drink of juice in hand. The fun is in lying there patiently and silently and listening to how abhorent their sibling's behaviour and blatant disregard for the rules is, and just waiting for that lightbulb moment when they look down at their own hand and remember the bowl/cup/plate there!)

Anyway, it's holidays. Hour upon glorious hour of drawing, cutting, pasting, play dough, bickering, quarrelling, arguing, throwing things, stealing paper from the printer because Mum surely won't notice we took another three hundreds pieces, drew on them and then put them back, eating anything and everything there is in the cupboard not because we're hungry but because it's there ..... you get the idea.

But I do love that every time we spend a few days together, I learn something new about my delightful offspring. Some quality time is a fantastic way to discover something about each of them, and they never fail to disappoint.

Here's a couple of today's gems, where I just listen quietly and try not to laugh too loudly until they've finished the discussion and left the room. (and then I run off and post it on the internet!)

The Rabbit knows all about childbirth apparently. I did post some time ago about the indepth discussion we had about how Boombah got into my tummy, and how badly that conversation went.
He has not mentioned it since. Not throughout the entire next pregnancy or subsequent 10 months of having another new baby in the house. Not a word. Not a squeak.
I figured I had suitably traumatised him well into his teens, and I'd not need to field any more baby related questions or explanations until about 2017.
Today he told me all about when a baby is born and a doctor immediately smacks it on the back or bottom. Because it's naughty to come out of there and hurt its mother doing so, so the doctor smacks it to make sure it doesn't do it again!

The Honey Girl sang me a beautiful song today. It was one she has learnt at school and sung at Assembly for the other grades to hear. She sings with expression and emotion, and loves to add some hand actions in when possible as well.
Today she sang "I'm Gonna Clap My Hands". And with much feeling and spiritual conviction she belted out that "You are the best friend, that I could ever know.
I lift my hands to You cos you died for me upon a cross.
You took away my THINGS and SHARED 'EM" ......

I thought maybe she meant "sin and shame" - but no, she assured me - Jesus takes away your things and shares them around with others if you're naughty. And off she wandered, continuing to sing about Jesus taking away her things and sharing 'em!

And then she told me that it was rude to stick up your middle finger. Like this. But God could do it because God can do anything. And He'd do it. Like this.

Did I mention we send this delightful child to a private and very Christian-based, Bible-focussed school?!! I do think I might take a peek at the curriculum again - what are those school fees being spent on?!!